Empowering your people as their coach

by | Jun 25, 2021

Earlier this year I wrote about what we at New Horizons Careers have been calling the “New Leadership” way – a reflection on business agility and resilience, as well as demonstrating a concern for others. Business survival is key to recovery and for those of us in the thick of people businesses, it is vital that our people feel valued; that they feel part of the team wherever their work takes them. Inevitably remote working has not been without its challenges. Team leaders and CEOs alike have been agonising over new ways to motivate their team colleagues from a distance. The added dimensions of declining sales, furloughed employments and tentative new ventures weigh heavy on the minds of even the most resilient leaders.

In spite of some 25 years supporting individuals through their career transitions, I am still delighted that so many of our clients make such a good job of securing a new role, frequently achieving improved opportunity and status. Of course, I would love to say that’s down to our genius coaching success, yet we are simply the facilitators of the achievement. Our coaches follow a much tried and tested model, encouraging clients to set their goals and plan their journeys to success. In other words, this is where I want to be (my goal), this is where I am now, these are my options to get there, and this is what I need to do or sign up to do. And so many of them do get there, often exceeding their own expectations. For some clients, it is the first time that they have actually made plans about their career and really understood their own strengths (and limitations).

Controversial maybe, although I am suggesting that the relationship between team colleague and their team leader or manager is too often founded on what the organisation wants or needs of the colleague. Frequently, this ignores the colleague’s hopes and dreams for themselves. To add insult to injury perhaps, the organisation through its managers dictates the journey or routes to success. In this example personal development planning revolves around the organisational context, rather than the people who work for the organisation. In the most extreme cases, it is the manager who sets team and then individual objectives with little input from team members. Over time this approach can dampen peoples’ spirit as much as individual ambitions. Individuals feel a little disconnected from the process, as well as the desired outcomes.

Flip the coin over and consider a more employee-centred approach to personal development planning; an opportunity to focus on what team colleagues aspire to achieve within the business context and how they plan to get there. In this scenario, individuals collaborate with their managers to design objectives which work for both parties. Colleagues are encouraged to better consider their strengths and the contribution they make to business success, as well as how that could develop. Employees are engaged in the process of deciding their best route to achieving their goals. The manager becomes the coach and an advocate for change who creates the vision and engages the audience. It’s time to say goodbye to the adage that the executive team knows best how to run the business. After all who is best-placed to advise on call centre wait times or the length of checkout queues?

These extraordinary times call for extraordinary people who are courageous and resilient. Some sectors like travel, leisure and hospitality have been forced to tear up the rule book, while health and social care are sprinting at pace towards an ever-extending finish line. Who knows where the debate about vaccination passports will take us? Whatever the outcome, businesses continue to need strong leaders who recognise the collective fortitude of the people who make up their organisation – leaders who nurture and promote talented colleagues to take an active part in organisational success. It’s time to ensure that our managers are the best coaches, and our colleagues create the best value for themselves and the organisation wherever their place of work.

The New Horizons Careers team can put together a tailored programme which supports your individual and organisation needs to create a coaching culture. We will support your managers who are staying to develop as coaches and to adapt to new ways of working.

Why not get in touch for a chat in confidence? Call us on 0044 (0)207 831 9843 to let us know how we can help, or send us a message now.